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LTA unveils sites for Thomson Line terminal station - 16Jun2011

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  • Description: SINGAPORE : Residents living in Woodlands could see greater interest in their properties.

    This is because the Land Transport Authority (LTA) will build a station there that will integrate the upcoming Thomson Line (TSL) with the proposed Rapid Transit System (RTS) link between Singapore and Johor Bahru.

    An area near Republic Polytechnic is where the northernmost terminal station of the Thomson Line would be located.

    There will also be an interchange at the existing North-South line's Woodlands station for commuters to transfer onto the Thomson Line which is slated for completion by 2018.

    The Thomson Line will run fully underground from Woodlands through the Central Business District to Marina Bay. It will pass through the Ang Mo Kio, Sin Ming and Thomson areas before it reaches the city.

    Director at Dennis Wee Group, Chris Koh, said he expects property prices near the station to rise, especially once the RTS Link is completed.

    "I won't be surprised if prices go up by 5 to 10 per cent easily. I know of people today who stay in JB and travel to Singapore, and I know of people in Singapore going all the way to JB every weekend. As long as you have a car you will frequent up and down."

    Also unveiled is the location of the Thomson Line Depot - which will be at Mandai.

    The 32-hectare train depot will be Singapore's largest, housing up to 90 trains.

    Construction begins end-next year.

    The government will acquire a 40-hectare piece of land - equivalent to 60 soccer fields - for the depot.

    The land is now occupied by Orchidville, Singapore's largest orchid farm.

    "The feeling is very hard on me, whether the government will compensate us fairly so that we can relocate. And if they can find another piece of land for us to move in, then we will appreciate very much," said Joseph Phua, MD of Orchidville.

    Mr Phua has about one and a half years before he has to move out.

    He will also have to downsize operations to about 20 per cent of what it is now, because it will be difficult to find land close to the size of his current farm.

    More than half of the 1.5 million plants at Orchidville may have to be disposed. And among them is a rare and expensive moth or butterfly orchid plant which costs about $600.

    The farm which employs about 100 workers will also have to retrench some of them.

    Mr Phua is hoping the government will extend the deadline and help defray the costs of relocating.

    "There are so many plants for us to move and to develop a piece of land is not a matter of one month or two months. Application already takes more than six months, sometimes more than that, for a piece of land," said Phua.

    Mr Phua said he is meeting the authorities in July to discuss compensation, and hopes an alternative site in Mandai can be found.

    The farm, which also has a restaurant for corporate functions and sees about 7 to 8 tour groups per day, will remain open till end-2012.

    The farm will receive statutory compensation under the Land Acquisition Act, and will have till end-2012 to vacate the premises.

    The Thomson Line, targeted for completion by 2018, is currently undergoing a detailed engineering study.

    The LTA said it would release more details on the line at a later date after the study is completed.
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